Review by Braben

Reviewed: 04/23/04

The problem with Sons of Liberty is that is better remembered than actually played.

Believe it or not, I have only played the first Metal Gear Solid for about one hour, no more, and not because I didn’t like it, in fact, I enjoyed that little time a lot, and I am sure that if I play the game to end, I would say that it was one of the most intense games ever, but the thing is that I have never been all that interested in the series, and stealth games are not among my favourite, so I don’t care if I never happen to play the first game entirely. For this reason, I wasn’t interested in the sequel, but one day a friend of mine lent me the game, so I said, “well, what can I loose?”, and while I haven’t lost anything, now I have even less interest in the series, oh well...

Plot 10/10:
Well well, to be honest, and I have not understood a thing, I know that this game has a lot to do with the first one, and that to comprehend better this sequel is very recommended to have played the first game before, and as I have only played the first one for about one hour, and considering that I have never read anything about the characters, and that I am not interested at all in them, it was obvious that I wasn’t going to understand anything, and that is exactly what happened, but even with that, the story here is a complete, an absolute, a total mess, this game has more plot twists and strange events than a marathon of 24 hours of soap operas combined, I would say it even has more twists and turns than Final Fantasy VII himself, and I bet my house that no even Mr. Kojima himself understood a thing about what the hell was he writing while doing this, Hideo, you are mad you know buddy!?.

But I have to give the plot a perfect rating because while I didn’t understand anything, it is impossible not to admit that this is a very well made plot that for sure took its time to write, then each character has its own interests and opinions, there are a lot of things and unexpected events that kept happening and happening, the dialogue is interesting and well done, a very “professional” plot to sum up, other developers should learn from this Kojima guy because even if you don’t understand a thing, when a plot is well made it is impossible not be interested on it.

Graphics 10/10:
Possibly the best I have ever seen after Final Fantasy X, oh wait!, I have said the same after playing Onimusha 2, well, then this are the best I have ever seen together with Final Fantasy X and Onimusha 2. Really, the graphics are nothing short of amazing, the animations for example, they so realistic that are almost creepy, the way Raideen’s hair moves from here to there every time he does something is unbelievable, as well as the way they go up and down from ladders, or the way they wiled their weapons, the way the run, their facial expressions, and a very big etc. Then we have the environments, the only reason why they are not better than everything you have seen so far is their relative monotony (I’ll go on that later), because they are truly breathtaking, specially the first part f the game where you are on that ship, the way the rain falls and the ship movements together with the waves and wind and all the other effects like the footsteps or as a whole everything you can imagine are so terrifically made that I don’t have words.

Music 3/10:
Oh yeah the music, hmmm...... there is some music at the intro and.....well.... ok, I know that in a game like this one the music is not something all that important but what I think it is a joke is that in the bonus disk they talk about how they hired a famous Hollywood composer to do the soundtrack, and he says it was great, the music is intense, superb...... ok ok, wait a second, if the music is all of that, then, where is it?, because I have played the entire game and I have not heard anything for bout the 95% of the game, where in the world is that magnificently intense soundtrack the composer was babbling about?, I just don’t get it, nowadays video games and less and less music, they think that the sound is what makes the music, they that hearing your footsteps is music, well, I can’t share that opinion, and as your footsteps are mostly the only “music” we are going to hear, I can’t help but to give the game here a well deserved 3, because even that cool little theme when you were caught by the enemies on the first game is now gone.

Now into the voice acting, which truly is amazing, the voices are perfect for each character and oh! King Elvis I can’t believe this!, the actors actually care for what they are doing, they are taking this seriously instead of just reading their lines like if they were just drinking coffee in the process. Thankfully in the PAL version the voices are in English (yet something inside me is saying that this is going to be last time). What disappointed me a lot, like with that little theme that I mentioned above, is when Raideen and Snake’s pals shout their names after dying, the way they shout this time is not nearly as good as in the first Metal Gear Solid, too bad because I just loved when they said that.

Gameplay 7/10:
I don’t know exactly how to rate the gameplay, because it is excellent for what it wants to be, but the game is not all that easy to play sometimes. However, the game works exactly in the same way than the first game, we have to be constantly hiding from our enemies and killing them in silent ways to remain unnoticed as much time as possible while completing our mission objectives, so there is no use to talk about them because I doubt there is still someone out there (excluding me) who hasn’t played the first game.

The controls, as they work exactly like before, are, if very complicated, perfect giving the (also) complicated structure of the game, but “gameplay” is a lot more than just controls, and there are another gameplay elements that are not nearly as perfect as them.

The scenarios for example, yes are terrifically designed and everything but, you see, I am not very good at maths but I am able to count at least up to two, and two is the number of scenarios in Metal Gear Solid 2, and the first one lasts for about one hour, maybe you can add another half an hour if you like to explore, but no more, so we only have one scenario left, and yeah it is a pretty big place, but not too varied also, with always similar colours, rooms, designs... in my opinion this is the game’s biggest flaw.

Like in the first game, we have to sneak into the enemy base and mess their plans trying not to be seen most of the time, which is something extremely difficult because we are going to be caught a million times before knowing exactly what to do, anyway, at the same time I also think that there is no way on arguing about this because it is not possible to make everything work better, but well. We have tons of gadgets and movements to hide and kill the enemies, as well as our instruction from our leaders, just like in the first game, nothing has changes as far as I have seen.

Something a lot of people argues about are the extremely long dialogues and cut scenes, don’t know why because they are what make this game so involving, they are the core of the game, the best part, I enjoyed these parts better than the playable ones to be honest, the dialogues are great (if excessively confusing) and all the events on the game while (again) excessive, are outstanding.

Another thing people dislikes is that most of the time we have to use Raideen instead of Snake, as I haven’t played the first game too much I am not exactly a “fan” of him, yet, as Snake appears in the game a lot, it is obvious that Raideen lack his charisma and that the game should have had Raideen doing Snake’s role.

Sons of Liberty is by far the most surreal game I have ever played, next to this game, even Final Fantasy X is realistic, there are tons of scenes in which all the characters do things that even Goku would find impossible, or what can you say about that part when Raideen fights against a Harrier?, or the way that guy that looks like a vampire kills his enemies?, of course as this raises the “badassness level” to the heavens this is not a problem, it is a good thing in fact, yeah, but sometimes everything is a little bit over the top in my opinion, I mean, there are ways to make everything as spectacular without being so incredibly unrealistic, because this game is not exactly a fantasy game, all the events are supposed to take place in our planet, or at least that is what it seems.

Replay Value:
Below zero. There is no point on replaying this game, or at least not for me, or what is the same, no reason for all of us that are not zombie-freaks of the game. I’ve heard something about an item called Dog Tags, I have no idea about what is that because I have not found one single of whatever they are in the whole game, and if I have found one then I haven’t noticed, but anyway finding those things is the only replay value around. There are a few funny things to see using your camera or little “details” that can be seen sometimes during the game, but that can’t be considered replay value.

Like in Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2 comes with a bonus disk (included in the price because this game was more expansive than the average PlayStation 2 game, at least here in Europe), and also like in Final Fantasy X, that disk sucks because it is useless even as toilet paper, there was no need to include that extra disc, who in the world would pay like fifteen extra dollars to see a crappy little “documentary” about hoe Mr. Kojima designed the game?, and the trailers of the other Konami games are there for nothing, maybe in the USA this doesn’t happens, but in Europe game like this one or Final Fantasy X cost more or less another fifteen bucks (yeah FIFTEEN EXTRA BUCKS, for Final Fantasy X I paid 65 dollars for example, and Sons of Liberty was equally expensive) because of that stupid disc, you know what to do with that disc don’t you Konami?

As a result:
Hideo Kojima should try and make an rpg, he sure knows how to confuse an amaze the audience, but with this game I think he went a little bit too far, it astonishingly impressive sometimes, but also sometimes the ridiculousness level is astonishingly over top. But in the end, I guess that with this happens the same thing than with Silent Hill, being the kind of game it is, it is nearly impossible to get better. Find a friend who owns it (something that is very easy to do because I am probably the only human being who doesn’t owns it and who doesn’t feel ashamed for that), like I did, or rent it because in my opinion while intense, it is too short be wasting the big bucks it costs.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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